Becca Thomas finishes the Great Manchester Run to raise money for APF
No longer a rare disease
I’m Digital Specialist for Action for Pulmonary Fibrosis, a charity that supports anyone affected by the disease. Pulmonary fibrosis means scarring of the lungs. Once diagnosed, the prognosis is just 3-5 years. With sixteen people a day being told they have a form of pulmonary fibrosis, it’s no longer a rare disease in the UK and there’s no current cure.
Helping people to connect
My role is to provide online spaces for our community – people living with pulmonary fibrosis, fundraisers, researchers, health care professionals, carers – to connect and to find and share crucial information and support. Our social media and website are especially important for people who would find it difficult or physically impossible to connect in person, and really help to tackle isolation.
As well as helping people to connect online, my role is to inspire those people to put down the smartphone or laptop and get out there. To fundraise, visit someone living with pulmonary fibrosis, or help raise awareness of the disease.
The Great Manchester Run is a yearly event for APF. We’re incredibly lucky as a charity to have dedicated and loyal supporters who continually surprise me with the sheer energy that they pour into supporting us. Last month I got swept up by the momentum and, encouraged by our Fundraising Co-ordinator Sharon, signed up to run a 10k along with 38 others running for APF on 19thMay. I’m not a runner, but if everyone else can do it, then so can I!
Why I work for APF from CambridgeSpace
APF might be a small charity but we’re growing fast. We have a new CEO and I’m the first member of the staff, working with a team of brilliant freelancers across the country. We don’t have an office yet so I choose to work from Cambridge Space. I realised how much more work I get done being surrounded by a community of conscientious people – it’s contagious! There’s always someone to lend me a pen or give me an Instagram idea and the music playlist is excellent. I started running regularly from Cambridge Space to train for the event and everyone there supported me.
At the start line I genuinely had no idea if I could do it, if I had done enough training or whether my legs would give up half way round. I kept thinking of the 38 other fantastic runners I’d had met, running for family or friends. I started the run with Louise, APF’s CEO, and we gave each other a big vote of confidence!
Carried by the crowd
I was carried through the first 1-3 k by the great crowd, who were brilliant. After the first 3k I started struggling, being overtaken and feeling tired. But then “Tom” ran past me in a huge inflatable dinosaur costume, his tail tripping him up every three steps and he spurred me on. I got into it at 6k, knowing I was over half way and I really enjoyed the rest of the run. There were choirs, and music on every corner, and the crowd shouting my name – ‘Go Becca!’ ‘You’re amazing’. The support was brilliant.
Tragically some of the other runners lost family or friends to pulmonary fibrosis in the run up to the Great Manchester Run, which made the event even more pertinent.
Support the work of APF
If you’d like to donate to this fantastic charity and team of experts you can do so at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/becca-thomas2. Every penny APF raises goes towards research or support.